Sweeping. I approached Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy with a decision to make: the first novel, Fall of Giants, came in at almost a thousand pages, and I knew that if I became hooked, this would be many hours of reading, not just for this novel but expecting that I would read the next two as well. I’ve read a lot of Follett’s work, and feel that his compact Eye of the Needle is the best of all, although the historical novels Pillars of the Earth and World Without End were entertaining and engaging. I took the plunge. Set in the 20th century, the new novel uses the characters in five families to present the historical events, including the Russian Revolution, World War I, prohibition, and the fight for women’s rights. Follett’s history seems accurate, and the vivid characters he presents draw readers into their personal stories. A minor annoyance I experienced was from plot: the improbable circumstances that brought characters together. I was reminded of the John Jakes historical novels where at every turn a character bumped into a historical figure or another main character. Readers who enjoy historical fiction will find many enjoyable pages to read in this first installment, and may look forward to learning what happens next to these characters.
Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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